The amount of supplements available for your pet has grown rapidly over the last 10 years, meaning it has become increasingly difficult to know which one to choose (if your pet needs one at all). Follow our handy guide to find the right type of supplement for your furry friend.
Many people use joint supplements to support their pet’s mobility as they get older. Others use them in the case of injury or recovery from orthopaedic surgery. They’re also commonly used within working or competition dogs. Many joint supplements need to be fed for a minimum of 6 weeks in order for the various quantities of the ingredients to reach a certain amount in the body. Please note that joint supplements can’t cure arthritis or pain associated with osteoarthritis and other joint problems.; In these instances, your veterinary surgeon will be able to prescribe appropriate medication to make sure they’re comfortable.
Skin and Coat Supplements
The idea behind skin and coat supplements is to support the natural barrier of the skin, including good general skin and coat condition. These supplements tend to be rich in omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids and oils, which can support dogs with dry, flaky skin and dull coats. Some contain elements to support itchy dogs whilst others contain ingredients, such as Biotin and Zinc, to support coat condition and nail bed growth. Some supplements have plant extracts and certain vitamins, such as Vitamins E, to minimise oxidation in the essential fatty acids.
Digestive supplements can be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from daily support for your pet’s digestive system to recovery support during times of gastrointestinal disturbance (i.e. acute diarrhoea, stomach upset). Many digestive supplements contain live probiotics (commonly referred to as ‘friendly bacteria’); a type of bacteria that helps to keep your pet’s gut healthy when faced with factors such as antibiotic therapies, food intolerances, stress, scavenging inappropriate foods, or a period of unhealthy nutrition. Many digestive supplements also contain prebiotics, which are non-digestible food ingredients that support the activity of good bacteria.
Vitamin supplements are essentially a pet version of a human multivitamin, ensuring your pet is getting the right amount of nutrients in their diet on a daily basis. They don’t tend to be as popular as other types of supplements because the majority of complete pet foods, when fed correctly, provide all the vitamins and minerals that are required for a happy, healthy pet.
Bladder supplements are used to support the normal function of the bladder and the structure of the bladder lining, which can become damaged due to infection, inflammation, tumours, urinary crystals, or stones. They are also sometimes used alongside prescription medications as a supportive supplement in cats with FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease) on the advice of a vet in individual cases. Some people use these supplements on the direction of their vet for short term support during a bladder condition, whereas others may use them as part of an ongoing support plan.
Many pets can suffer from stress and anxiety, which can make them behave in an unfamiliar way. Discover the signs of an anxious dog in our recent blog post. It’s important to identify the cause of your pets’ anxiety. For some this may be obvious, such as fireworks, whilst for others it might be more subtle, such as a new cat moving onto the street. Calming supplements can help your pet cope with stressful situations better. Besides plug-in diffusers and collars that emit calming pheromones for dogs and cats, there are also supplements that your pet can take to help cope with stressful situations better. There are several available and these may contain the milk protein casein, calming valerian root or even ingredients that support the production of the calming hormone serotonin.